Making a complaint to the European Commission under EU competition law
Making a complaint to the European Commission under EU competition law

The following Competition practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Making a complaint to the European Commission under EU competition law
  • What can be the subject of a complaint?
  • Legitimate interest
  • EU interest
  • Procedure for making formal complaints
  • Procedural rights of the complainant
  • Confidentiality of the process
  • Rejection of a complaint by the Commission
  • Potential remedies and outcomes
  • Relationship between the Commission and national competition authorities
  • More...

Any party affected by an alleged infringement of EU competition law can bring a complaint before the European Commission in relation to agreements and practices that may amount to an infringement of Articles 101 and/or 102 TFEU.

The Commission states in its Notice on the handling of complaints that it 'wishes to encourage citizens and undertakings to address themselves to the public enforcers [of competition law] to inform them about suspected infringements of the competition rules'.

For ease of reference in the following the party bringing the complaint is referred to as the 'complainant'. The party complained about is referred to as the 'defendant'.

Further guidance on the Commission’s handling of complaints can be found in section 5 of the Commission’s notice on best practices for the conduct of proceedings concerning Article 101 and 102 TFEU and the Commission’s internal manual of procedures.

A complainant could potentially bring a complaint to the Commission, or, in a Member State, to a national competition authority; alternatively, instead of submitting a complaint to a competition authority, a potential claimant could bring a private action before a national court (note–a complaint to a competition authority may be pursued in parallel to private enforcement in the courts). The focus, below, is on the procedures and practice of the Commission (in so far as complaints to a competition authority are concerned). The procedures at

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